A friend from UNC (Go Heels! – it’s a gut reaction :-D), Hi Lizzie!, recommended The Madman’s Daughter as the author is a family friend (or something along those lines) and I’m glad she recommended it! It was a fast paced and engaging read and although it wasn’t perfect, it was an amazing debut novel and I can’t wait to see where her writing takes her in the future.
It has been a very long time, over 10 years if not closer to 15, since I went through my H.G. Wells obsession and read everything he wrote and from what I remember this mirrors The Island of Doctor Moreau pretty closely. I think at some point in the next few years I will go back and read Wells work again as I really enjoyed The Time Machine and The Invisible Man.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the author’s story telling ability and her great descriptions. At one point when I was getting reading my final chapter for the night before bed I had chills all over my body because of what happened and the cliff hanger of that chapter (almost the exact half-way point). Honestly, I was shocked I was able to put the book down and go to bed.
In addition to the story being great I didn’t find the characters to be too obnoxious or lacking in agency which is a problem I have with many young adult novels. At no point did I really want to shake any of the teen characters and say WAKE UP, DO THIS or DON’T DO THAT out of immaturity or circumstance, which is great!
If there is one thing that got to me as I read the story, it was the use of over description, but I think that has a lot to do with this being the author’s debut novel. I think as she progresses as a writer the descriptions will tighten up and there won’t be as many and her talent as a storyteller will really take precedence. I’ll also be interested in seeing what she does when she steps away from the classic rewrite and does something original. I believe she is working on something at the moment which sounds pretty fascinating, in addition to a sequel of this novel based on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Recommendation: Definitely check this one out especially if you love a good retelling of a classic novel. Even if you don’t love them, this one is worth checking out because of the interesting characters and descriptions.
Opening Line: “The basement hallways in King’s College of Medical Research were dark, even in the daytime.”
Closing Line: “And then I saw nothing, as the waves spun me around in their dips and swells and the island disappeared into night, except the glowing blaze where fire destroyed the red walls of my father’s laboratory.” (Whited out.)